Festival celebrates Mesa's Old West history - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Festival celebrates Mesa's Old West history

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 3:56 pm | Updated: 1:50 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

 Mesa may have a sleepy reputation these days, but it wasn't always so. "Mesa is an Old West town, founded in the 1870s. It's rich in pioneer history and territorial history, and some key people in Western history passed through here. This was a centerpoint," says George Notarpole, owner of downtown collectibles store History By George.

Mesa may have a sleepy reputation these days, but it wasn't always so.

"Mesa is an Old West town, founded in the 1870s. It's rich in pioneer history and territorial history, and some key people in Western history passed through here. This was a centerpoint," says George Notarpole, owner of downtown collectibles store History By George.

The city will give a nod to its wilder past during the Mesa Old West Days Festival, taking place Saturday and Sunday downtown.

During the event, historic reenactors from across the nation will roam the streets in 19th-century garb. Among the groups who will stage re-creations of gunfights or historic events are the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers and the Mormon Battalion. A blacksmith will give demonstrations of his craft, and the Arizona Vintage Baseball League will show visitors how baseball was played and what the sport looked like in the 1800s.

There will also be a variety of old-fashioned entertainers - such as a magician, ventriloquist and fortune teller - and merchants specializing in Western merchandise. Other attractions in the lineup include Western authors, poets and speakers; a fast-draw competition; period costume and dutch oven-cooking contests; rides and activities for children; and chuck-wagon-style dining options.

Notarpole says about 6,000 people showed up for the event last year, and downtown merchants are expecting a bigger crowd this time.

"Mesa was quite a town - it still is - and it's really been ignored by the rest of the Valley to a large degree. Mesa has a rep of just being a quiet town with nothing going on. But it's got a beautiful downtown full of shops and restaurants. It's probably one of the prettiest downtowns, but it's got one of the highest vacancy rates. People just don't realize what's down here."

  • Discuss

EVT Ice Bucket Challenge

The East Valley Tribune accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Facebook

GetOut on Facebook

Twitter

GetOut on Twitter

Google+

GetOut on Google+

RSS

Subscribe to GetOut via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px
Your Az Jobs